The film is based on a novella of the same name by Alexandre Kazbegi.
A Chechen girl, Eliso, and a Georgian highlander, Vajia, are in love with each other, but it is impossible for them to be together. In the meantime, the tsarist government is looking for a reason to expel the Chechens from their land and give it to the Cossacks instead. The residents of Eliso’s village send a letter to the governor-general, asking him to let them stay, but their efforts are all in vain. Eliso, who is forced to leave her homeland and Vajia, sets fire to the village before leaving.